Fraser Brown, MotorVise Managing Director
Most car dealerships run a daily operating control to record each day’s orders to calculate the month’s gross profit.
Such processes have long stood the test of time, but the automotive market is now negotiating a period of immense change and it’s time to rethink the ‘daily DOC,’ according to motor trade expert, Fraser Brown.
Dealerships face a new post-pandemic world, one where new car registrations are becoming non-events, vehicle supply issues are creating delivery delays of many months, and where service departments are disrupted by the phenomenon of seasonality.
Fraser, founder and managing director of consultancy MotorVise Automotive, says: “Demand and order take has dropped. The question is, if a dealership sees its invoicing drop in four months’ time, given the lead times on orders, will it be able to cover its overheads?
“That’s why attitudes to the daily DOC must change and dealerships must take maximum advantage of all the information it provides by focusing on website visitor levels, the number of Auto Trader hits, and daily online enquires.
“Dealerships need to examine these trends if they are to tackle the shortfalls – well before they are staring at a black hole in their accounts. A good DOC will detail web traffic year on year and month on month and track daily trends and enquiries.
“So, if a dealership detects a drop in web traffic, enquiries or order take, what action does it need to take? It should mine its database, focusing on finance renewals and organising sales events to generate a quick burst of orders, especially if the sales team has not spoken to the database in a while.
“It may also need to increase marketing activity through SEO to increase its visibility on Google and available social media channels. By doing so, it can cast its net wider and reach out to many more potential customers.
“If the monitoring of incoming enquiries and order take is conducted properly, a dealership will immediately spot if there is an issue with team motivation or a need for sales training. Assessing the sales funnel via all channels, from showroom visits to social media direct messages, through to the point of delivery and invoice is vital.
“During what is a challenging time for the industry, it has become increasingly difficult to motivate salespeople. Some dealerships have amended pay, splitting remuneration between order take, delivery and customer satisfaction, to keep their sales team motivated to take orders that may take some time to come through.
“Since the pandemic, finding and retaining good salespeople has remained an issue but investing in training increases skills and develops the future leaders of the business.
“The most successful dealer groups are those investing in their people and, as a result, they are seeing a growth in career progression and massive reductions in staff turnover.
“As the ‘return to a new normal’ continues, monitoring sales funnels and daily enquiries, providing dealership sales teams with hot leads and investing in training is now essential in the new world of automotive sales!”